Sunday, 29 October 2017

Nuclear broken arrows highlight dangers of Trident WMDs

Your alarming front page story on Saturday (Daily Mail, 28 October, revealing serving submariners took cocaine while on a mission to the US in HMS Vigilant, a submarine used to carry Trident nuclear WMDs, stated the sub had docked in the US to pick up nuclear warheads.

This cannot be correct, as the UK manufacturers its own Trident nuclear warheads at Burghfield  in Berkshire ( after being designed -  jointly with the US - at the nearby Atomic Weapons  Establishment at Aldermaston) , before being transported along our  motorways in convoy to Coulport  on the Firth of Forth  near Glasgow, where they are stored before being  loaded onto one of the four  British Trident submarines.
It is possible the warheads picked up in the US could have been non-explosive dummy warheads used for telemetry tests of Trident missiles off Florida, one of which recently had to be destroyed remotely when it went off course and was headed for the Florida mainland.
What both incidents demonstrate is that there are failures of the integrity of operational personnel and technology in the UK possession of these  devastating  nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Accidents with nuclear weapons are known as ‘broken arrows’, and there  have been several involving  nuclear weapons in the UK, including devastating fire at  RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk in July 1956 , when a USAF  B-47 nuclear armed bomber crashed into a storage igloo spreading burning fuel over three Mark 6 nuclear warheads,  when that base was used by visiting US airforce.(
Last week, Fabian Hamilton MP, Labour’s shadow minister for peace has said a Labour government would sign a global nuclear weapons ban treaty that would effectively make the deployment of  nuclear-armed Trident submarines illegal.(
This is something Foreign Secretary  Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary  Sir Michael Fallon should consider doing, especially as the UK is pledged to negotiate away its nuclear weapons under article 6 of the 1968 Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty (NPT), the text of which the was negotiated  between British, American and Russian (Soviet Union)  diplomats fifty years ago.
Such a sensible act would end the UK's violation of its own multilateral treaty

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